2016 was the year of the "superbloom" in Death Valley - Fall and Winter rains enabling an outrageous display of wildflowers that attracted visitors from all over the world. We had made plans for a Spring desert trip to Death Valley long before the superbloom made the news. Fortunately, Death Valley is a BIG place and you can always find solitude if you know where to go. I captured this image of Desert Paintbrush on the drive into Titus Canyon. The yellow wash on the ridge in the background is from Golden Evening Primrose, which were blooming in abundance during our visit.
When I see the first Sara Orange-tip butterfly of the year on Mount Diablo, I know that Spring is on the way. Mitchell Canyon is a great place to find this species busily patrolling the trails and hillsides. As is the case with many butterflies, they are difficult to photograph well, because they are always in motion. I photographed this Sara Orange-tip in White Canyon (a side canyon off Mitchell Canyon) on a Fiddleneck flower on February 27th.
Whenever we visit family in South Florida, we also try to plan several visits to a couple of amazing wetlands in Palm Beach County - the Wakodahatchee Wetlands, and the Green Cay Wetlands. Both of these places are part of municipal water treatment systems that use the wetlands as part of the treatment process. They have extensive boardwalks that are extremely popular with walkers, birders, and photographers. I think they are arguably the best places anywhere to photograph wetland bird species. The beautiful Purple Gallinule is one of the stars of any visit to these wetlands. For more images these wetlands see my journal entry.
This is the first "Image of the Month" from December 2015. A cold front had passed through on Christmas Eve, and there was the possibility of snow on the summit. I got up early and headed to Mount Diablo State Park, but the summit road was closed at the Junction Ranger Station. So, I laced up my hiking boots and headed up the Summit Trail for the 1500' climb to the summit. I captured this image just as the clouds lifted on the blustery northwest corner of the Mary Bowerman Trail where the landscape was covered in frost and ice. For more images from this event see my journal entry.
I was nominated by our friend John Hopkins to participate in the "Challenge on Nature Photography" (#challengeonnaturephotography) on Facebook. I posted one of my nature photos every day for a week. Since these images are some of my favorites, I thought I would put them in a gallery on my web site to share with folks who don't have access to Facebook. I also added the commentary for each image to the caption.